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Free Study Guide-The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas-Summary
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES

CHAPTER 11 - The Corsican Ogre

Summary

M. Dandre admits to the King that he has just learned that Napoleon landed near Antibes in France three days earlier and is now advancing towards Paris. The King is angry that the information came so late and praises Villefort. Villefort defends Dandre to the King as he does not want to make an enemy of him, particularly since the minister of police might have the opportunity to interrogate Dantès and uncover his own plot. The King asks that the matter of Napoleon be referred to the Minister of War and then asks the baron what he has learned in regards to an affair in the Rue-Saint Jacques - the death of a General Quesnel, loyal to the King, has recently taken place as Quesnel left a Bonapartiste club with another unidentified man. Quesnel had fallen victim to a Bonapartiste ambush. Quesnelís companion has been well described, but was lost by Quesnelís valet on the evening he was murdered on the corner of the Rue Coq-Heron, the same street on which Villefortís father lives. The King continues to say that the assassin will be severely punished. The King then asks Villefort if he has yet seen his father in Paris and Villefort says that he probably will not, a fact that pleases the King. The King then gives his cross of the Legion of Honor to Villefort and Villefort is overcome with pride. Villefort leaves and returns to his hotel intending to leave for Marseilles in two hours. As he eats, his father Noirtier arrives.

Notes

This chapter is significant for its revelation of how Villefort profits by his betrayal of Dantès, and his own defence of his father to the King. Further, the Kingís presentation of the Legion of Honour cross to Villefort serves to underline how quickly things may change; while it is a great honour to receive the cross at this point in history, the honour will be worth nothing and will in fact be a disadvantage to Villefort in a few weeks when Napoleon returns to rule France. The fortunes of every character in this story will rise and fall tremendously at various points in time, proving - perhaps with the exception of Dantès - that "what goes around comes around".


CHAPTER 12 - Father and Son

Summary

After ensuring that they are alone, M. Noirtier expresses his surprise at his sonís presence in Paris so soon, only three days after his wedding. Villefort responds that it is for his fatherís sake that he is here, asking his father if he is familiar with the Bonpartist Club in the rue Saint-Jacques, to which Noirtier unashamedly replies that he is its Vice President. Villefort describes his conversation earlier with the King, the letter addressed to Noirtier that brought him to Paris and the Kingís suspicion about the murder of General Quesnel. Noirtier states that General Quesnel had been referred to his club as an ally and how, after the club had told him of their plans for Napoleonís return, Quesnel had declared himself a royalist. They permitted him to leave the club freely after he took an oath of secrecy, but somehow he never returned home.

The two men discuss whether Napoleonís return will be successful, and both men are impressed how informed the other is. Villefort reminds his father that the police have a good description of the man who accompanied General Quesnel on the day of his murder and his father immediately shaves his beard and changes into Villefortís clothing. Noirtier leaves, telling his son he hopes to return the favor someday. Villefort destroys all of the belongings left by his father and returns to Marseilles.

Notes

This chapter shows the depth of difference between Villefort and his father: one a royalist, the other a staunch Bonapartist. However, Villefort has saved his father by warning him of what he knows regarding his fatherís affair in the murder of a royalist, and his father will in turn save him during the time of the Emperor Napoleonís return. In this sense, Villefort is lucky in that although the Emperor will return to rule France for the 100 days, he will survive politically.

CHAPTER 13 - The Hundred Days

Summary

The Chapter begins with a brief description of the very different situation in which Villefort and other royalists now find themselves when, as Noirtier had predicted, Napoleon resumes power some days later. Villefort retains his post as deputy- procurer, in great part due to his fatherís protection and favor. Villefortís marriage to Rene (sp) is postponed until political conditions are more favorable. Morrel, more powerful under Napoleon, visits Villefort again on behalf of Dantès, hoping particularly that "what was the other day a crime is today a title to favor." Villefort is unreceptive, and tells Morrel that the authorities carried Dantès off a week after his arrest to an unknown place. He states that Dantès will probably be released soon as he had never actually been arrested and that Morrel should petition the Minister for his release. Villefort offers to countersign Morrelís letter and give it to the Minister himself, the letter describes Dantèsí role as an active agent for Napoleon.

Twice more during this period of the Hundred Days of Napoleonís return Morrel goes to see Villefort and Villefort begs him to be patient. Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo and Villefort uses the letter to the Minister (which he had of course never delivered) to seal Dantès fate as a Napoleonic agent. Villefort is promoted to procurer in Toulouse and marries Rene. Danglars has left Morrel and entered the service of a Spanish merchant. Fernand yielded to conscription under Napoleon and Mercédès initially endures of the pain of losing Dantès with religion. Caderousse also enters the army and Dantèsí father, having lost all hope with Napoleonís final defeat, dies 5 months after his sonís arrest in Mercédèsí arms. Morrel pays his funeral costs and all outstanding debts, an extremely courageous act given the current political circumstances (assisting the father of a dangerous Bonapartiste).

Notes

This chapter contains an accurate description of the political and historical events surrounding the infamous 100 days of Napoleonís return. Although Villefort has kept his job during this time, he ignores Morrelís pleas on Dantèsí behalf for fear of being apprehended himself, and continues to conspire to keep Dantès imprisoned even though the charge against Dantès should now be sufficient to ensure his freedom. When Napoleon is again conquered at Waterloo, the evidence against Dantès is overwhelming and Villefort leaves the city. In the meantime, Dantès is forgotten and all those who knew him move on with their lives, marking the tragedy for which Dantès will later seek vengeance.

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